This week it’s Breakfast in Bed. In these modern times it’s not always possible to sit down every single morning to a hearty breakfast with your partner, that’s why special days were created, to remind us to spare a little romance when we can. Of course we shouldn’t look to a specific day like Valentines to spark the romantic flame, but let’s face it, the Day does serve to nudge us into action. Valentines Day is one of Life’s conundrums, some look forward to it while others dread it because it escalates this enormous pressure to do something special and not all of us work well under pressure. So if you’re all out of ideas or had enough of the cheesy ones, this is the read for you. Trust me, only a few gestures say I Love You quite like a surprise breakfast in bed given the forethought that goes into it. Pampering with the gift of food matched with the comfort of a bed, should catapult you into Lothariodom with absolute success.
What I’ve put together for this particular Breakfast in Bed is well thought out but simple so just about anyone can do this. Let’s start with the main plate. The four key elements to creating a satisfactory breakfast plate, would include modest portions of eggs, bread, cheese and meat. A full breakfast is incomplete without eggs, whether it’s poached, fried or boiled the egg is a must have item on a breakfast tray. Here I’ve gone for French Method scrambled eggs that’s soft, buttery and creamy. It’s traditionally cooked over a double boiler which provides an extra assurance to prevent the eggs overcooking. In this recipe the eggs are glorified with cream cheese and chives and there is just no telling how magnifique they are until you try them.
My next piece of advice is – don’t serve a heavy plate because the idea of a breakfast tray is to serve an array of dishes, like a miniature buffet in bed. Keep it light with simple but essential elements. The eggs should be served with buttered toast, or a croissant depending on the cheese you choose. The French cheese Maroille which I used for this breakfast is a fairly soft cheese bearing a resemblance in texture to Camembert. Traditionally when eaten by the French for breakfast it is served with bread but I’ve chosen toasted bread for a contrast in texture. If serving a harder cheese instead, a soft croissant will be ideal. Ensure that the croissant has been warmed through before serving. To warm croissants, place in a moderately hot oven for two minutes. If French Salami with hazelnuts like I’ve done here, does not appeal to you then choose a different variation of cured meat. If still not satisfied opt for a thin slice of smoked salmon or a petite smoked breakfast sausage to finish the plate.
A side plate of fruit is a must on a breakfast tray. Of course you can easily slice up a variety and serve as is or you could go a little further. If a good variety of fresh fruit are in not in season you could also do what the hotels do and offer quality preserved fruit on your tray.
Here I’ve served the fruit with yoghurt and toasted honeyed nuts which is wonderful to work up an appetite. In fact this should be served first and the main plate should follow. Also you could add the fruit to the yoghurt and create a layered cup of fruit, yoghurt and nuts. Adding some granola to your cup is another breakfast favourite, but be mindful because granola is quite filling.
Often people look forward to enjoying a slice of toast with jam for breakfast. It’s just a habit that most people form and so you want to remember to reserve a good jar for the tray.
My advice is to choose a good quality jar with a high percentage of fruit, and even if you have to spend a little extra or search a little further, think of it as a gift that will delight. For the beverage, you could offer a cappuccino by simply pouring one shot espresso into half a cup of frothy steamed milk topped with whipped cream.
However a glass of fresh fruit juice is the choice breakfast drink for many so the beverage will depend entirely on your partner. For my personal taste, an array of flavoured teas presented in a pretty tea box accompanied with a vintage teapot and matching tea cup, is a Valentines dream come true. Or if you want to really roll out the red carpet, you could turn this affair into a Champagne Breakfast and pop open a special bottle of bubbly.
Something sweet! I love these Mocha-Cinnamon buns because who doesn’t love cinnabons? Made from sugar and spice and all things nice, they’re soft and delicate, with a buttery sweet dough but not too sweet because the added coffee balances the sweetness while also filling the home with that Breakfast Café aroma when they bake.
These do not have to be prepared on the morning of, you can bake them a day before then easily warm them up and they will be as fresh as if you just baked them. This recipe is a no-fail recipe and it comes with step by step pictures and guides to help you along and I have the utmost faith that they will turn out beautifully. If you have less than two hours to spare the day before, you can be serving these to your Valentine the next morning. Here I’ve gone ahead and bottled up some homemade butterscotch sauce for a little something extra but simple whipped cream combined with the caramelised rolls is more than enough to feel pampered.
For the Forget-Me-Nots. I would say that it serves well to change the bed linen the day before. Like you would dress a table before a special dinner, the bed should feel luxurious with your best pillows, cushions and throws. Break out the good crockery, because it’s the little things that add great charm to a simple creation, even a breakfast.
Think about adding flowers, whether its a whole bunch, bouquet or a single stem, it’s always pretty. A note, a card, a quote or even a poem (not necessarily written by you) can be surreal. And if you’re beyond the big gift stage, give a great box of chocolates or nicely wrapped truffles that’s symbolic of affection, attraction, luxury and passion.
And there it is guys, just a simple breakfast in bed to spark something magical on the day designated for lovers everywhere. Hope it’s been inspirational, have a splendid weekend.
For the Mocha-Cinnamon Rolls
*These can be prepared a day in advance and stored airtight to ensure that the Breakfast in Bed is a timely affair.
Ingredients for Dough
- 125ml milk
- 25g butter
- 1tbs sugar
- 14g instant dry yeast
- 1 egg (room temperature)
- 250g plain flour
- 1/2tsp fine salt
- egg wash
Ingredients for Filling
- 60g softened butter
- 2 tsp cinnamon powder
- 2 tsp instant coffee granules (100% Arabica preferably)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4tbs brown sugar
- Heat milk and butter until warm but not boiling (high temperature kills yeast) and add to a stand mixer. Add sugar, follow with yeast and leave to activate for 10 minutes until foamy.
- Beat one egg into milk mixture before adding in the flour.
- Mix ingredients on low speed for 3 minutes.
- Turn up the speed to medium, mix for five minutes, add salt and mix on high speed for one minute. At this point the dough should come clean off the bowl but if it does not, add one tablespoon of flour while the mixer is running and continue on high speed for another minute or until the dough forms a ball. Gather the dough to place in a greased bowl. It should feel, soft, buttery and flexible.
- Form dough into a boule and place in a greased dish, cover with cling-film and leave to proof in a warm place for 30 minutes. If it’s a cold day preheat oven on lowest setting for five mins. Switch it off and then place the dough inside the warm oven to proof.
- Meanwhile mix all the ingredients for the filling in a small mixing bowl and set aside at room temperature.
- After 30 minutes the dough should be more than double in volume.
- Turn dough out on a lightly floured worktop. Punch out the gas.
- Begin to press the dough out before rolling just to let it stretch out.
- Start to roll the dough into a 30x30cm square. Once the rolling process begins, do not turn it over. Simply lift the dough from the sides to the middle to ensure it is not sticking to the surface from time to time.
- Once a neat square has been formed, now turn the dough over. Using a spatula spread the filling evenly over the dough without tearing it. Use a very gentle hand and make sure its not sticking to the surface by lifting it to check. Using more flour to dust the underside is an option but remember the more flour that goes into the dough the harder the dough will become. To keep the rolls soft and fluffy, refrain from dusting the surface with excess flour unless extremely necessary.
- Once the filling has been adequately spread, start to roll the dough tightly to make one complete log. Brush the log with egg wash.
- Slice off the two uneven ends of the log to create a neat edge on both sides. This log should yield 9 pieces. Cut out the first piece and use it as a guide to slice the remaining log into similar sizes.
- Arrange in a greased 24cm round baking tin or a heavy based, oven proof pan leaving adequate space between each to allow room to expand. By using a heavy baking medium, the sugar in the rolls will caramelise to form a sticky sauce rather than burn.
- Brush gently with egg wash again and leave to proof in a warm place for another 50 mins. Prepare the oven for proofing like before.
- After proofing time remove the rolls from the oven. Preheat the oven to 200° (fan forced) for 7 minutes. Return rolls to the oven and bake for 12 -15 minutes depending on the voracity of the oven.
- Once the rolls are ready, they should be golden, soft and should pull apart with the lightest hand. Serve with whipped cream, sweet cream cheese, caramel sauce, butter scotch sauce or a variety of nut creams. They may also be topped with chopped nuts.
For the French Method Scrambled Eggs
*The eggs should be the last item to be prepared as they must be served hot.
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbs unsalted butter
- 2 tsp cold cream cheese
- salt & cracked black pepper to taste
- chopped fresh chives
- In a medium pot prepare a baine marie by filling the pot 1/3 of the way with water before heating on a low heat.
- On top of the open pot, place a heat proof bowl ensuring that the base of the bowl is not in contact with the water.
- Add butter to the bowl and let melt.
- Crack egg into a cup (do not whisk) and have it ready. Do not add salt as this will cause the egg to separate.
- Once the butter is melted add the egg and start to whisk vigorously.
- Continue whisking until the egg starts to take on a creamy texture. No more than a minute to a minute and half.
- Remove from heat and immediately add one teaspoon of cold cream cheese to stop the cooking and cool down the eggs.
- Add salt and mix through.
- Plate the eggs by seasoning with cracked pepper, place one teaspoon of cream cheese on top, sprinkle cheese with fresh chopped chives.
- Serve immediately.
For the Yoghurt with Fruit & Nuts
- 1/2 cup plain unsweetened yoghurt
- 20g almonds/hazels
- 1tbs honey
- Heat a small pan and toast nuts for 10 minutes shaking the pan from time to prevent burning.
- Once the nuts are toasted mix them into the honey.
- Place cold yoghurt into a spotless glass and gently spoon over the honeyed nuts ensuring that they stay on the top of the yoghurt.
- Wash and hull strawberries.
- Peel and slice kiwi and place the fruit on a side plate to be served with the yoghurt.